Di lang P1.5B! Inquirer’s Prietos owe gov’t P3.2B over unpaid rent, Dunkin Donuts dues – Tiglao
Contrary to President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement, the Prieto family that owns the Philippine Daily Inquirer does not only owe the government P1.5 billion in back taxes for the operation of their Dunkin Donuts franchise in the Philippines.
Former Arroyo-era Cabinet Secretary Rigoberto Tiglao said the Prieto’s tax liability actually amount to over P3 billion since they have yet to pay the P1.8-billion lease on the Creekside/Mile Long complex in Makati City that is owned by the government.
In his April 21 column for the Manila Times, Tiglao said the Prieto’s P1.8-billion tax liability for the Mile Long property was based on the computation provided by former Solicitor general Agnes Devanadera to a metropolitan trial court in 2009.
The figure was computed by the government’s Privatization Management Office that had taken over the property at that time.
Tiglao said the Prietos, through their real estate firm Sunvar Realty Development Corp., continued to occupy the property even after the lease contract, which they obtained in 1980, expired in 2002.
Worse, it was the Prietos who collected rentals from the over 400 stores there for 14 years after the lease expired.
“That P1.8 billion amount translates to a measly rent of P360 per square meter per month government is asking Sunvar to pay—a give-away price in a prime area where rents are at least P50,000 per sq. m. per month,” Tiglao said.
Instead of paying the overdue rent to the government, Tiglao said the Prietos have resorted to legal techicalities to retain control of the property.
“The orders last year up to March 2017 of the judges involved—Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 141 Maryann Corpus-Manalac and MRTC Branch 59 Judge Winlove Dumayas—have in effect allowed the Rufino/Prietos, to maintain the status quo—to control the property, collect rents from businesses there, and ignore government’s decade-longeffort to collect P550 million to P1.8 billion from this billionaire clan,” he said.
Duterte earlier accused the Prietos of using their connections in the government during the time of former President Benigno Aquino III to avoid paying P1.5 billion in taxes over Dunkin Donuts’ operations.
He said in a speech in the Middle East that the family was only made to pay P8 million in back taxes by then-Bureau of Internal Revenue chief Kim Henares.